Ovation News

Ovation Star – Nancy Nugent

Meet Nancy, Embryologist, Ovation Newport Beach

Nancy Nugent, Embryologist

Not everyone gets to say they make a living helping people start and grow their families. This knowledge is why Nancy Nugent loves working as an embryologist at Ovation® Fertility Newport Beach.

This October marked Nancy’s 25th anniversary with the Newport Beach lab, so we’re celebrating her as our Ovation Star this month.

How Did You Get Into Your Line of Work?
I grew up on a dairy farm in Canada, so I completed a master’s degree in the animal science department after I earned my undergraduate degree in molecular biology and genetics. My childhood on a dairy farm inspired me to focus on IVF in cattle for my master’s program research.

After I completed my master’s, I moved to Southern California to take a research position at the University of California Irvine and worked under Dr. Mitch Schiewe. Together, we worked on research projects looking at zona hardness, blastocyst hatching mechanisms and the first successful ICSI in the Western United States. Shortly after that, I started working as an embryologist in the Newport Beach lab in October 1997. This is my 25th year here.

What Is an Average Day of Work Like for You?
It’s always pretty busy because we do all the different ART procedures. We tend to rotate who does which procedure in the IVF lab. This allows us to keep our skills fresh and makes every day a little different.

In this line of work, we also have some patient interaction, which is great. Assisting the patients helps us maintain the human element of our job and reminds us why we’re doing this. At the end of the day, we’re working with more than just cells under a microscope.

What’s Your Favorite Part of Working for Ovation?
It’s great to have a network of labs available for collaboration whether it’s a clinical issue or a problem related to staffing or supplies. For example, it was challenging to find supplies during COVID with the shortages and supply chain issues. It was reassuring to know we could turn to other Ovation labs for supplies and support.

What Do You Like About Working in Fertility Care?
I enjoy knowing I’m helping people create their families. It’s especially rewarding to see the photos and meet the babies. Seeing the joy on the parents’ faces helps me remember the big picture of why we’re here and do what we do every day.

What Do You Like To Do for Fun?
My husband and I have two wonderful daughters who are scholar-athletes. One is a collegiate springboard diver and the other is a softball player who will play in college next year. We love going to watch them. As a family, we also enjoy different water sports, including scuba diving, waterskiing and sailing. My husband is also from Canada, so that’s where most of our family lives. We make trips there as often as possible to see everyone.


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